1 week itinerary for Zanzibar

Zanzibar, an idyllic island off the coast of Tanzania, is a true traveller’s paradise. With its pristine beaches, rich culture and unique architecture, Zanzibar offers a truly unforgettable experience for anyone who visits.

Whether you’re looking for relaxation, adventure or a blend of both, following this 1 week itinerary for Zanzibar is the perfect way to explore this captivating island and make the most of your time.

One week in Zanzibar can give you a taste of everything the island has to offer, while also allowing you to relax and enjoy its unique culture and natural beauty. As someone who lived in Zanzibar, i’ll provide you with a decent itinerary to get a good taste of the are. Heres what to expect:

  • Day 1: Arrive in Zanzibar
  • Day 2: Stone Town Tour
  • Day 3: Spice Tour and Jozani Forest
  • Day 4: Beach Day
  • Day 5: Mnemba Island Day Trip
  • Day 6: Safari Blue Tour
  • Day 7: Relax and Depart Zanzibar

Use this itinerary as is or mix and match the days or tours to make it a perfect trip for you, depending what you want to see or do.

So, pack your bags, get ready for an unforgettable trip, and learn about all of the amazing things to do and places to visit in Zanzibar.

Plan your trip?

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Day 1: Arrive in Zanzibar

Spend the afternoon settling in and enjoying the facilities of your hotel, enjoy a spa treatment and unwind from the flight in, or relax by the pool or at the beach. In the evening, head out to get your first taste of the nightlife of Zanzibar.

The island has a decent nightlife scene, with bars and nightclubs playing local and international music. If you want to keep things tame your first night here, you can enjoy a cocktail while taking in the ocean views at any one of the cosy rooftop bars or beachside lounges.

You might like to head to the Forodhani Night Market, located along the waterfront for an easy dinner. Here you will come across a mouthwatering array of local street food, from grilled seafood to Zanzibari pizzas. Afterwards, head back to your hotel and get a good night’s sleep for tomorrow’s adventures.

Very High Above Aerial Top View Shot of Stone Town, the Capital of Zanzibar, Tanzania. Sunset Time Coastal City in Africa

Day 2: Stone Town Tour

Start your day with a delicious breakfast at your hotel, then head out to explore Stone Town, the historical and cultural heart of Zanzibar. I’d recommend taking a walking tour of this UNESCO World Heritage Site with a local guide who will show you all the highlights:

The Sultan’s Palace

Originally built in the late 19th century as the official residence of the Sultan of Zanzibar, it stands as a testament to the island’s historical significance as a trade hub and a melting pot of cultures.

You’ll be able to see a mixture of architectural styles blending Arabian, Indian and European influences, and see a collection of artifacts, royal regalia and displays at the museum.

The Old Fort

The Old Fort of Zanzibar dates back to the 17th century and was originally built by the Omanis to protect the island from invasions. The once imposing fort with bastions and coral stone walls has been transformed into a cultural centre, with various events like live music performances and festivals, as well as craft markets.

The inner courtyard is surrounded by little shops where you can pick up local crafts, artwork or souvenirs. 

Best Stone town Tour
STONE TOWN, ZANZIBAR House of Wonders or Palace of Wonders in Stone Town housing the Museum of History and Culture of Zanzibar and the Swahili Coast.

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Stone Town Walking Tour

  • 2-3 hours 
  • Local Guide
  • Hotel Pick Up

Darajani Market

No Stone Town tour is complete without visiting the marketplaces. One of the most popular is the Darajani Market, filled with the aroma of exotic spices, the vibrant colours of fresh fruits and vegetables, and the sounds of locals bartering.

While you might not need to pick up any food, there are handmade crafts and intricate textiles available for you to look at and purchase if you want to take something home to mum and dad.

After lunch, visit the nearby Prison Island, which is home to the Aldabra giant tortoises and has a beautiful beach for relaxing and snorkelling, as the waters are brimming with marine life.

A half-day Prison Island tour is highly recommended for the best experience possible, including insights into the island’s history.

STONE TOWN, ZANZIBAR -  Local people walking on the seafront in Stone Town, Zanzibar, Tanzania, East Africa and jumping to the water on the sunny evening. Horizontal orientation.

Day 3: Spice Tour and Jozani Forest

Spice Tour

One of Zanzibar’s must-do activities is a spice tour. Zanzibar is known as “Spice Island” for its history of spice cultivation and trade. Take a morning tour of the spice plantations and learn about the uses of the various spices that are grown on the island, as well as the cultivation and harvesting processes.

Zanzibar is known for its production of cloves, nutmeg, cinnamon, cardamom and vanilla, so you’ll be able to smell and taste all of these during the tour.

#1 Top Pick Tour
A monkey eats a tree branch. Kirks red colobus. Africa, Zanzibar.

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Spice & Jozani Tour

  • 6-7 hours 
  • Spice farm tour
  • Jozani Forest tour

Jozani Forest

After the spice tour, head to the Jozani Forest, the last remaining sanctuary of the endangered Zanzibar red colobus monkey (you can take a join spice and Jozani tour). Jozani Forest is a protected area in the Jozani-Chwaka Bay National Park and covers an area of 50 square kilometres.

Watch the red colobus and Sykes monkeys leap from tree to tree and feed on fruit, and see if you can spot the elusive Zanzibar leopard.

Local guides are often trained by the park authorities and can provide insights into the unique ecology, wildlife and conservation efforts.

Wooden bridge in dense forest. Tanzania, Zanzibar. Jozani national park

Day 4: Beach Day

Spend the day soaking up the sun and enjoying the beautiful Zanzibar beaches. You can choose to spend your time relaxing on the sand or take part in any of the various water sports activities on offer, from snorkelling and scuba diving to parasailing. 

Some popular Zanzibar beaches to visit include:

Nungwi Beach

Located on the northern tip of Zanzibar, Nungwi Beach is one of the most popular beaches on the island. It offers views of the Indian Ocean and is dotted with resorts, bars and restaurants. It’s also an ideal spot for snorkelling, diving or deep-sea fishing.

Kendwa Beach

Found right by Nungwi, Kendwa Beach is known for its postcard-perfect beauty. With powdery white sand and calm waters, it’s a perfect spot for sunbathing and relaxing. At night, it’s a completely different scene, as this beach is famous for Full Moon Parties, where locals and tourists get together to enjoy music and dance by a bonfire.

Paje Beach

If you want to try kitesurfing, look no further than Paje Beach. Located along the east coast, the beach’s consistent windy conditions offer the perfect opportunity for both beginners and experienced kitesurfers to enjoy some time on the water.

Matemwe Beach

Want some privacy? Head to the northeast coast of Zanzibar to Matemwe Beach, a more secluded beach. This beach has a quiet atmosphere, with swaying palm trees and traditional fishing dhows along the horizon. During low tide, you can explore the coral reef pools.

View of tropical sandy Nungwi beach on Zanzibar, Tanzania

Day 5: Mnemba Island Day Trip

On your fifth day, head out on a day-long adventure to Mnemba Island, one of the most stunning places to visit in Zanzibar. Known as Mnemba Atoll, this idyllic island is located off the northeast coast of Zanzibar.

It offers a secluded and relaxing escape for travellers looking for a luxurious tropical experience. With only one luxury resort on the entire island, it’s the perfect place for honeymooners or those who want some extra privacy.

Top Mnemba Pick
Anchored wooden dhow boats on the amazing turquoise water in the Indian ocean Zanzibar Tanzania.

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Full day Mnemba Island

  • 6-7 hours 
  • Private tour
  • Lunch included

The surrounding waters of Mnemba Atoll are a designated marine reserve, protected from fishing and other activities that could harm the fragile ecosystem. The conservation efforts also extend to the island itself, with sustainable tourism practices in place.

Second Mnemba Pick
Romantic couple snorkeling in the sea in honeymoon

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Snorkel Mnemba Atoll

  • 3-6 hours 
  • Local guide
  • All fees included

The crystal-clear turquoise waters here provide amazing opportunities for snorkelling, scuba diving and swimming with colourful fish, sea turtles and other sea creatures.

This full-day group tour provides equipment, as well as instruction for snorkelers of all levels, so you won’t have to worry about anything. Upon return to Muyuni Beach, you’ll be provided with a delicious late lunch including fish and rice, a staple in Zanzibar.

Aerial view of Boats Staying near Mnemba Atoll in Zanzibar - The Famous Spot for Snorkeling and Boat Tour

Day 6: Safari Blue Tour

One of my favourite day trips in Zanzibar, is the Safari Blue Tour. You hop on a traditional dhow boat and head out on a full-day to the uninhabited islands off the coast of Zanzibar.

You will have the opportunity to snorkel around coral reef and mangroves, and swim alongside tropical fish and sea turtles. On your way to Menai Bay, look for wild dolphins playing in the water before stopping at the islet of Kwale for a delicious seafood lunch on the beach.

Best Safari Blue Tour
Turquoise waves of the Indian ocean run on the white beach of the island of Zanzibar.

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Full Day Safari Blue Tour

  • 7 hours 
  • Hotel pick up
  • Lunch included

It’s more than just an exciting day trip, this tour is an good opportunity to reconnect with nature and learn about the biodiversity of Zanzibar.

Local guides will share insights with you throughout the day, from marine conservation to the traditional practices of the local fishermen.

Menai bay landscape, Tanzania, Africa panorama. Indian ocean scenery

Day 7: Relax and Depart Zanzibar

As your one-week adventure in Zanzibar comes to an end, get some last-minute relaxation in before you head to the airport.

Depending on how much time you have to spare, you could enjoy a massage or spa treatment offered at your resort, walk along the beach, or pig out in one last local meal.

Zanzibar, Tanzania - Tourists wait for boats on Prison Island (Changuu Island) to return to Zanzibar mainland

FAQ

Not sure how many days in Zanzibar will be enough? Seven days is a good amount of time to explore Zanzibar, depending on what you want to see and do on the island. It will give you a good taste of the island – you can always come back!

Zanzibar is a relatively small island, but it offers a range of activities that will fill up your time here. With 1 week in Zanzibar to spare, you can easily cover most of the island’s main attractions and still have time to relax and soak up the local culture.

There are so many things to do in Zanzibar to fill a one week itinerary. Make your way through the streets of Stone Town, visit the island’s markets and see attractions like the Old Fort. Of course, there are pleny of beaches to relax on as well.

Spend whole days taking a dip, scuba diving or snorkelling in the Indian Ocean, then sunbathing on the soft sandy beach. You also won’t want to miss a visit to the Jozani Forest, home to the endangered red colobus monkeys. 

When planning a trip to Zanzibar, it’s important to think about how much you’ll want to spend. The cost of a week in Zanzibar heavily depends on a number of factors, from the time of year and the accommodation you choose, to your activities and dining preferences.

Accommodation prices in Zanzibar can start from around $15-$20 per night for a basic room and go up to several hundred dollars per night for high-end accommodations. Transportation costs will also vary depending on whether you choose to hire a private driver, take taxis, or rent a scooter or a car.

A budget-conscious traveller should expect to spend around $500 to $700 per person for a week in Zanzibar, while those looking for a more luxury pr high-end experience, you could spend upwards of $2,000 or more per person for the same length of stay.

Generally, the best time to visit is during the dry season, which runs from June to October. During this time, the weather is warm and sunny with very little rainfall, making it ideal for beach activities and water sports.

Another good time to visit Zanzibar is from December to February when the weather is also warm and dry. However, this period is considered the peak tourist season, and the island can be crowded and prices tend to be higher.

If you can, avoid visiting from March to May, which is Zanzibar’s rainy season. The island experiences heavy rainfall and high humidity during these months, which can affect what outdoor activities you’ll be able to enjoy.

Chaise sun loungers with shaded thatched roof umbrellas at a resort in Zanzibar, Tanzania for tanning on the beach

Final Thoughts: 

A one-week itinerary to Zanzibar promises an unforgettable adventure filled with cultural experiences and idyllic island vibes.

From exploring the streets of Stone Town, with its historical landmarks and markets, to basking on the gorgeous beaches with crystal-clear waters of Nungwi and Kendwa, Zanzibar offers a perfect blend of relaxation and exploration.

I hope you found this itinerary helpful, it’s fairly basic BUT it does give you a good idea of things to see and do during your first visit to Zanzibar. I guarantee you’ll want to come straight back!

Recommended tours in Zanzibar

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Author

  • Katie Barker

    Katie, a dynamic travel expert and photographer, is dedicated to exploration and sharing her adventures through travel and lifestyle blogging. With a global perspective shaped by residences in Cape Town and beyond, she offers insights into off-the-beaten-path destinations and budget-friendly travel tips. Katie's expertise spans digital nomad living, travel planning, and empowering solo female travelers.

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